SYDNEY — A young Indigenous hockey player from Whycocomagh has been recognized by the House of Commons for his Red Tape Movement and the awareness it has raised around racism and discrimination.
Logan Prosper, who recently finished his last season in minor hockey as a forward with the Cape Breton West Islanders, made headlines in December 2019 when he and his family lodged a formal complaint to Hockey Nova Scotia about racist comments made toward him during a game.
The incident prompted the hockey organization to create a diversity and inclusion task force, and to tighten rules regarding verbal abuse on and off the ice.
The experience also inspired 18-year-old Prosper and his father Phillip Prosper to start the Red Tape Movement to shine a light on the issue of racism in the sport and to encourage players to take personal responsibility for ending the problem.
Players and teams from across the country wrapped their hockey sticks in red tape to show their support for Prosper, and a Red Tape Game, where Indigenous players and their culture were celebrated was held at Saint Mary's University in Halifax in 2020. Some former NHL players reached out to Prosper, and he even got a shout-out on Hockey Night in Canada during a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers.
Now Mike Kelloway, the Liberal MP for Cape Breton-Canso, is giving a shout-out of his own to recognize Prosper's positive contribution to the sport by way of an official letter of appreciation.
“Oftentimes we’re looking for large scale movements to move things forward, but it always starts with an individual with the courage to do something,” said Kelloway.
“It tells me that Logan is a leader at heart and has taken a negative and turned it into something constructive and a more positive environment that is willing to have those tough discussions.”
Prosper said he was surprised to find the official document at the post office.
"I went to go pick up the mail and it said House of Commons and it was a government paper, and I didn't know what it was, but then I was in complete shock, like to have that recognition and people still talking about it, it's just really good and still blows me away," he said.
Prosper finished off his last season of hockey on the sidelines as he recovered from a concussion, and he has been advised by his doctor not to play any more contact hockey. He said it was a tough season but his best one yet because of the improvements the minor hockey association made to curb on-ice insults.
He's headed to Saint Mary's University in the fall to pursue a bachelor of arts, and plans to do a bachelor of education after that. He hopes the Red Tape Movement and the changes it has brought to the game will continue to be his hockey legacy.